Good news, Shaun Radcliffe, the chair of Bradford Ornithological Group, has agreed to conduct a walk over Baildon Moor starting at 9:00am on Saturday 22 June, returning about noon.
The walk will start from the large carpark on the right of Hawksworth Road after the Bingley Road turning. It will be a decent length walk so come prepared with good shoes or boots and appropriate clothing. A bottle of water would also be a good idea.
Shaun will bring a few pairs of binoculars but if you have some of your own please bring them.
The intention is to walk towards the scout camp. Then go up Sconce Lane and turn left at Faweather Grange to Birch Close. Then go right towards Weecher Res and come down Sconce Lane again via Little London area.
We will be looking out for several bird species – Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, Linnet, Wren and Willow Warbler could be seen. There are other birds which could turn up such as Little Owl, Grey Partridge, Curlew and Kestrel. We may also see Redkite.
Several other members of Bradford Ornithological Group may join us so that we don’t all have to huddle round Shaun to hear about birds.
If you are thinking of joining us it would be great if you could comment on here or facebook.
There will also be a light hearted competition.
Most of our native birds will be preparing for the breeding season which means that the males plumage is at its best and bird song extremely vocal.
Its a good time to sort out different species by their song because as the trees are without leaves and the birds are perched where they can be seen, you can focus on individual birds. If song by Blackbird, Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush has always been confusing, try and get out on a sunny morning and locate the songster.
Finches and Tits will also be in song in the hedgerows and the woods. Woodpeckers should be drumming and Long-tailed Tits may even be nest building. Look closely at bramble or any thick hedges to observe these birds as the nest is a cleverly built ball with a small side entrance. Treecreepers and Nuthatches will be investigating holes in the woods but you might find that the loudest singer comes from one of the smallest birds, the Wren. To compensate for its size, it has a shrilling song which it usually gives form the top of a dry-stone wall.
On Saturday I went up to Shipley Glen/Bracken Hall Green to take a photo for this year’s project and decided to wander around the trees in the glen. I could hear a Great Spotted Woodpecker but I did not get to see it. However I did get some good sightings of Robins. They sometimes keep quiet and still as you pass quite close. (Feel free to click on the images to see them larger on flickr.)
At other times they sing there heads off.
I quite liked the way that the Sun was behind this Robin with the darker background of a tree trunk.
They are cute birds.
While watching a pair of Bluetits dancing around together I saw a Tree creeper follow its characteristic saw tooth path, fly down to a low part of a tree and then creep up it feeding before flying down to the next tree.
I could also hear several Nuthatch. One flew in and scattered the pair of Bluetits before moving round and round the tree feeding.
Over the the other side of the beck were two Grey Herons in the depression in the field. They were probably waiting for worms, frogs and anything else small and edible to show.
On the way along the beck I came across this gate that can close off the beck as it goes under the path. It seems a strange thing to put a gate across.
This posting is copied from Paul Marfell’s Blog
Jan 25 – Morning Walk
Temperatures dipped to minus seven last night so a snowy walk around Baildon Moor did not look good for seeing birds. How wrong could I be? Just up the hillside from the cattle grid at Glovershaw a small flock of birds could be seen clearly against the white background. I hoped they would be the uncommon Snow Bunting. Buntings they were but actually 13 Reed Buntings obviously finding food in these frozen surroundings, presumably grass seeds. Not far from them, a group of 23 Red Grouse were also feeding.
As my walk continued on the thick snowy path along Glovershaw, four Stock Dove and then a single Skylark flew over. Continuing into Birch Close Lane, two Red Kites circled in the distance but much nearer, a Little Owl flew onto a fence giving great views. Conditions for walking improved as I followed Sconce Lane towards Weecher Reservoir and in a field below spotted two coveys of Grey Partridge of six and seven in total. It wasn’t until I reached the scout camp that I saw my second Little Owl perched in a small oak tree. Despite walking close to the bird, it never moved from its perch but its eyes and head followed me as I went by.
The pink, wintry sky and the pure white of the snow made this walk a beautiful experience enhanced by seeing these resident birds coping in their own way under these harsh conditions.
Any sunny, mild day will now produce early bird song. Mistle thrushes have already started (even during this dullness) and can be seen usually at the highest branches. Their song is not as strong as the Song Thrush, flatter and repetitive. Great Tit, Coal Tit and Nuthatch also start calling with male Great Spotted Woodpeckers actively chasing each other.
As the recent cold snap has gone (for now), on a sunny, mild day, birds were active in the woods. Species seen were Treecreeper, Blue, Great and Long Tailed Tits feeding in the trees. The milder weather has increased bird song so besides the usual Robin’s song, Coal Tit, Nuthatch and Stock Dove were all calling. Up to three Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen with two birds posturing and posing at each other from the same branch. These were two males obviously disputing a territory and looking very stiffed and longed necked as they challenged one another. Other species seen were Woodpigeons and Jackdaws.
After leaving the wood, behind Bracken Hall Countryside Centre, a small flock of 30 Fieldfare were perched on one of the large trees.
As winter continues, there are two small finches that are able to find seed because of the shape of their beaks. The Siskin and (Lesser) Redpoll have very narrow bills unlike some other finches. The seeds of the Alder Tree are packed into a compact seed -head making it difficult for birds to reach them but these two birds can prise it open using their narrow bills. Both birds are slightly smaller than a House Sparrow.
The Siskin has a forked tail and the male’s body is yellow and green whereas the female looks paler. Alders grow close to water.
The Redpoll also has a forked tail and is just a little smaller than the Siskin. This bird has a streaky, brown body, red forehead and a tiny black bib.
Once the Alder seed has fallen, these birds look for winter food elsewhere and can turn up in gardens. They eat peanuts and often hang upside down to reach the food.
So far, the numbers of winter thrushes in the Baildon area is small probably because of the poor harvest of berries but we may see more Fieldfare and Redwing once the berries elsewhere are exhausted. The birds are then forced to ground feed for worms and start to flock.
If you have any berries in your garden, keep a watch for Waxwings, as they are have come down from Scandinavia in large numbers and have been seen in our area. They are smaller than a Starling, reddish brown with a grey rump, small black mask, yellow and white pattern in the wings and a yellow tipped tail. The tips on some of the flight feathers look like bright red wax. They are a beautiful bird!
Despite the freezing conditions, there are some interesting birds in the Baildon Moor area. Frozen footpaths made it possible to walk in the Glovershaw/Sconce Lane area and two small flocks of Plovers were seen. The first was of 50 birds of Green Plovers, more popularly known as Lapwings, followed nearby with a flock of 40 Golden Plovers at Glovershaw and two Snipe in a wet area were flushed.
Other birds seen close to Sconce were 20 Fieldfare ground feeding, 2 Stock Dove and a Buzzard with a Stonechat and a Reed Bunting searching for food.
For me, the bonus sighting was of two Hares in a field just below Weecher Reservoir.
Thanks to Shaun Radcliffe of Bradford Ornithological Group for info on his latest sightings.
This morning I looked around the hedgerows near Glovershaw Farm. Birds seen included Goldfinch, Wren, Blackbird, Greenfinch and Robin. During this time, I heard in the distance the unmistakable “kronking” call of Raven and sure enough two birds flew directly over me heading down the valley. This is not a common sighting here for sure.
Walked in the woods which were quiet but came across two feeding parties consisting of Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits. As usual there were plenty of Jays about but sight of a Grey Wagtail by the man-made pond was a bonus. I did not see many winter thrushes with just five Fieldfare flying over. A Kestrel was hunting over the dead bracken areas.
Our country is at present being invaded by winter thrushes from Scandinavia. They will over-winter here and return north in the spring. There are two species involved and you can look out for them whilst walking around the fringes of the Moor.
Fieldfare is larger than a Blackbird or Song Thrush but slightly smaller than the Mistle Thrush but look different to any of our thrushes. They have a grey head and a long grey rump and a black tail. The breast is yellow-orange and heavily spotted in flight. When flying especially in flocks they give out their characteristic call “chacker, chack, chack”.
Redwing are not so easily to hear as they fly over, as their call is a high pitched “seep” but when in the hedgerows, can be easily distinguished by the creamy white stripe over its eye and a pale stripe below the cheek. It gets its name from the rusty-red flanks and underwings.
Both these species on arrival will be starving after their journey and usually choose to eat food that it easily available. Any hawthorn hedge with berries should be checked along with holly bushes and rowan. Sometimes Redwing will be seen flying fast from one hedge to another whereas the Fieldfare often give their presence away when flying over by the call described earlier.
Once the berry harvest is exhausted, these birds will search on the ground for food just like our own thrushes do.
Below are photos of a Redwing, Mistle Thrus, Blackbird and Song Thrush taken recently in Robert’s Park